CLARKS SUMMIT – Just winning Abington bragging rights was challenging.
But once Abington National finally got past Abington American in the District 17 Little League Baseball 10-11-year-old championship series, it went on an offensive tear that carried the team to the highest level of competition contested by Little Leaguers in this age bracket.
Abington National won the Section 5 title Sunday when it routed Mountain Top, 16-4, to reach the state tournament, a week-long event that opens Friday at the Plymouth Little League in Plymouth Meeting near Philadelphia.
National heads to the state tournament having scored at least 10 runs in four straight games and having produced 31 hits over the last two combined. The first three meetings with American are the only games out of 11 in which National has not scored in double figures.
National is now 9-2 with five straight wins after starting out 4-2.
“We played extremely well,” National manager Jeff Armbruster said of the section tournament while practicing Monday at Ackerly Field to begin state preparations. “We hit the ball a ton.
“When you pick a team, you feel like you have the best 12, but they’ve proven that to us, especially at sectionals.”
National earned the state tournament berth by pounding out 18 hits in a rematch with Mountain Top at the Archbald AC Field.
Dominic Selvenis had four hits, including a double. Gavin Armbruster, who doubled twice and Camden Vaughn, had three hits each.
Matthew Tressler had two doubles while Luka Dennis, James Flickinger and Jake Stevens also had two hits.
Winning pitcher Nate Sompel hit his first home run.
The game was the second straight rout for National, which had shut out Back Mountain, 10-0, in the semifinals.
Gavin Armbruster struck out five while getting the pitching win and contributed two doubles to the offense.
Stevens, who homered, and Michael Stanton each had three hits.
Vaughn had a double.
National had more trouble with Mountain Top in the section opener, needing to rally from three runs down in the bottom of the sixth inning of the scheduled seven-inning game on the way to a 10-8 win in eight.
Vaughn ended the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth. Selvenis had started the rally in the sixth with a solo homer.
Gavin Armbruster, who doubled, and Stevens had three hits each. Noah O’Malley had two doubles and Cole Vida had one.
After losing in the 9-10-year-old district final last season, much of the same team returned for American’s all-star postseason team this year.
National and American matched North Pocono with 4-1 records in district round-robin play and won the tiebreakers to reach the best-of-three championship series.
National had won, 5-2, in the first meeting and started the championship series with an 8-5 win.
The series needed to go three games after National won, 7-5. It finally claimed control of the series with a 13-0 romp in the deciding game.
Winning pitcher Sompel had two hits.
Gavin Armbruster, who also had two hits, and Tressler each contributed triples, starting the offensive hot streak that has put National in the state tournament.
“It’s been a fun ride,” Jeff Armbruster said. “It’s been a special ride for everybody.”
Ryan Mitvalsky and Mark Vaughn are assistant coaches.
Jimmy Burke is also on the championship team.
Section 5 9-10 Baseball
Abington American reached the Section 5 9-10-year-old final where it had its season end Thursday in a 20-10, five-inning loss to Plains at Green Ridge.
American led 5-1 early and wiped out a 10-5 deficit with five runs in the top of the fourth before Plains finished strong.
Matthew Show’s three-run doubled forced the 10-10 tie.
Davis matched Show with two hits and three RBI.
Plains makes the state tournament, which is being hosted by the Christy Mathewson Little League in Fleetville. The tournament opened Tuesday and continues through Aug. 3.